Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Slate: Risk Intelligence--how gamblers and weather forecasters assess probabilities

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/new_scientist/2012/05/risk_intelligence_how_gamblers_and_weather_forecasters_assess_probabilities_.html



What's the difference between an expert gambler and an ordinary gambler?


The expert gambler makes money and the problem gambler loses it. But there are emotional differences. Although they both gamble a lot and it appears to be compulsive, expert gamblers know when not to bet, they evaluate their opportunity each time.


There is also a big asymmetry in feelings about winning and losing. Problem gamblers get a buzz from winning, it's like an adrenalin rush, but they don't mind losing that much. With experts, it's the opposite: They don't get a huge kick out of winning, the pleasure is more cognitive. But they hate losing so much that they are constantly re-evaluating their decisions and finding out how to do better.

I'm currently reading through Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. I'd say between Kahneman and Baumeister this has been the year of steeping myself in research into the social and psychological elements of violence, aggression and the ways in which individuals and groups exploit people.  This has also been a year of examining cognitive biases and the way our brains often fail.  

Not that there's any some kind of subtext or metatheme for why I've been so fascinated by this or anything. ;-)

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